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Mr. Levin 34, Us 17, Mr. Mccain 8, Levin 7, Mccain 7, Washington 6, Brac 6, Michigan 6, Alaska 5, Brown 5, Collins 5, Murkowski 5, George Mason 5, Barrasso 4, South Dakota 3, Eilson 3, Rubio 3, Udall 3, Grassley 3, Mr. Reid 3,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    November 30, 2012
    12:00 - 5:00pm EST  

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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from michigan.
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mr. levin: i thank the presiding officer. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, in a moment, i'm going to call up a list of nine amendments which have been cleared by senator mccain and myself. we expect that there will be in perhaps an hour or so an additional list of perhaps 15 or 20 cleared amendments. shortly thereafter, it would be our expectation to propound a unanimous consent proposal with a finite list of amendments that would be considered before final passage, and at the time that we do that, we would give our colleagues perhaps 20 minutes after we read that proposed unanimous consent agreement to come to the floor if they choose and talk to us about it, and if they so choose to object.
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we hope that won't happen, obviously. we have worked very hard with colleagues, but nonetheless, that's the procedure that we're planning on following, and i would now call up a list of nine amendments which have been cleared, as i indicated before, mccain amendment number 3052, whitehouse amendment numbered 3075, snowe amendment numbered 3133, sanders amendment numbered 3182, sanders amendment numbered 3183, warner amendment numbered 3233, coburn amendment numbered 3236, sanders amendment numbered 3248, and rubio amendment numbered 3283. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the amendments will be considered en bloc. is there further debate on the amendments? if not, all in favor say aye.
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all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the ayes are -- the amendments are agreed to en bloc. mr. levin: i move to reconsider. mr. mccain: lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, there is going to be another hour in here where people have an opportunity to come to the floor and to check on their amendments, and we hope that our colleagues will take advantage of that opportunity. mr. mccain: mr. president, i hope our colleagues' staffs who are observing are -- our deliberations here would think seriously about their amendments and how they can be consolidated, whether they are really need to be considered or not. we are working through large numbers of amendments. we will be probably revealing a finite list, and we hope that we can satisfy all members' concerns.
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i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with and that i be recognized as if in morning business to offer a tribute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: mr. president, i'd like to take a moment to honor a member of my staff who's not retiring but through his ailment
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can no longer come and work on the hill. this gentleman's name is michael schwartz, he's been my chief of staff for almost 15 years. while i was in the house and here as well. a lot of people on the hill know michael. and what they know is that he's one of the kindest, gentlest people that anyone has ever met. he's been a light on how you do things to honor other people. mike has been the kind of person that has always focused on others, especially those in need. he's the kind of person that doesn't pass up the homeless
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that we all see around the capitol but stops and tries to supply their need, offers them money and food, but he also offers them friendship and his time. he offers them the love and dignity that comes from being reminded that we're all children of the creator. mike has also been an unapologetic defender of the family and for those who cannot defend themselves. whether that be the disability community, the unborn, the infirm, or the elderly. he has reminded me and my staff and us that a society is truly measured in how it treats and cares for those less fortunate.
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mike's also a voracious reader and gifted leader. in a city where people stopped learning when they gain power, mike has shown that the closer you get to power, the more you need to humble yourself and learn new things. he's been montana toarg staff and others for -- mentoring staff and others on the hill for years in reading groups and bible studies and where he has shared his wisdom, his faith, and his heart. as many in the senate know, mike has a.l.s., lou gehrig's disease. for weeks, he's been battling, actually months, he's been battling to continue to fulfill his responsibilities here when most of us would have said it's too difficult, i can't do it. he's overcome challenges that
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most of us can scarcely imagine. he's done so with grace, humility, and an unbelievable level of courage. and through this, we have seen that he has inspired everybody on my team with both his spirit and his tenacity. in these difficult circumstances, mike has been an extraordinary servant and faithful leader. he's still the guy that cares more about other people than himself. the kindness he has shown to everyone he's encountered, whether to a homeless person on the street or a leading senator in the halls, he has remind our team and me that we are all
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equal, regardless of position, in the eyes of god. let me close with a passage from second clintians that remines remines -- corinthians that reminds me so much of mike. it is written, i believe, therefore i have spoken since we have that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak because we know the one who raised the lord jesus will also raise us with jesus and present us to himself. all this is for your benefit so that the grace that is reaching more and more people -- grace, that wonderful word, "are grace" too often a shortage in washington that mike so well displays -- may cause people thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of god. therefore do not lose heart. mike, don't lose heart. though outwardly we are wasting away, yet innerly we are being renewed day by day.
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for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. so we fix our eyes not on the scene, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal. in a place preoccupied by titles and position and power, mike has shown everyone by his life and his deeds and his words that things that are unseen are the things that matter. he has shown us what it means to run the race and finish it strong, well done, good and faithful servant. my hope is that god will bless mike and roseanne, their children and grandchildren, as he closes his chapter of life on the hill.
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he will still be doing projects for us because of his intellect, his insight, and his knowledge is something we can bare -- cannot bear to do without. so it has been my privilege over the last 15 years to be modeled and mentored by my chief of staff. mike, we love you. god bless you. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? mr. president, i request that the proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i request permission to speak o.a.s. if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection.
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ms. murkowski: mr. president, the bill that we have before us, the defens defense authorizatio, i think, we recognize is a pretty special bill. every year for the past 51 years congress has sent to the president a defense authorization bill, which has been bipartisan in nature, based upon the progress that we've seen here in this chamber for these past several days, it appears that this year will not be an exception. i deeply appreciate the strong leadership of our colleagues, the senator from michigan, the senator from arizona, in managing this bill. they have put in countless hours and have worked to wade through nearly 400 amendments that members have filed with respect to this bill, not only that the chairman and the ranking member and their leadership but their staffs have worked incredibly hard, and i'm pleased with where we are. now, mr. president, i think you probably know that i'm one of
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those members that doesn't have a tendency to pile on or add multiple amendments to this measure or really to many measures. but on this bill, i've broken with that practice by filing ten amendments to this bill. six of these amendments relate to frustrations that i have experienced in responding to force structure changes that were announced by the air force this last february . i think we recognize that air force -- force structure changes can be a euphemism for realignments and realipements are usually reserved for a brac round. but faced with the need to meet rigid fiscal year 2013 budget objectives, the air force didn't wait for a brac round and instead it proposed a series of backdoor bracs. most of these changes affected the air national guard and the air force reserves.
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but one of these changes would substantially realign and stop one step short of closing an active duty air base and i'm referring to aisleson air force base near fairbanks, alaska. last february the air force informed the alaska congressional delegation that it intended to make what they call a warm base out of aisleson, reduce its current population of about 3,000 airmen by half. the reduction would most profoundly affect the active duty population which would be reduced by about two-thirds. it would have led to the laying off of hundreds of civilian and contractor personnel. in the words of one prominent fairbanks community leader, he said, "it's the air force's intention to change isleson from a base that is mission-capable to a base that is
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mission-incapable. " the air force somehow concluded that it could pull off a move of this magnitude without ever having to face a brac commission or answer to the congress. that takes a little b bit of chutzpah. the air force promptly dispatched then-chief of chaff general norton schwartz to a meeting with community leaders. i was there when he spoke to those leaders. his message really didn't leave much room for optimism. air force officials pretty much sinced thainsisted that this wao happen. it came as something after surprise to me that the air force would select isleson as the only active duty base slated for a backdoor brac.
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for those who aren't familiar with isleson's strategic position, it sits at the gateway to the pacific area of responsibility, the most strategically important area of responsibility, according to this administration's defense planner. it also sits at the front door of the joint pacific-alaska range comple complex with tremes future upside potential. but for some reason this is the active duty base that the air force chose to essentially throw under the bus. and unfortunately this isn't the first time. back in 2005, the air force proposed to warm-base isleson, the brac commission rejected that proposal. they instead suggested that the air force should place an f-16 aggressor squadron at the isleson to take advantage of its
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proximity to the joint pacific-alaska range complex and that aggressor squadron supports cutting-edge exercises like red-flag alaska, north edge. superior, phenomenal training exercises. under the air force 2012 proposal, that squadron would now base at joint base he will f richardson and they would commute to future exercises launched out of isleson air force base. i'm left to conclude that perhaps there's somebody in the air force that for whatever reason doesn't like eilson. and i'll reach this conclusion with some hesitation and reluctance. bubut when i see the air force prepared to sacrifice this air
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force with a long, long runway, there are no encroachments, agree to graphic superiority with respect to missions in the pacific and really across the globe, it really does cause me to wonder. since february , senator begich and i and our staffs have been in touch with the air force on almost a daily basis trying to understand the air force's thinking here. and it's been a moving target. it's been tough to pin down. first they claimed that it would save money in 2013, and then they admitted that, well, a move would cost unbudgeted money in 2013. they next claimed that the move could be accomplished without any nepa review. then they admitted that maybe an environmental impact statement is going to be required. they concluded that the move could be executable in 2013 because there was sufficient housing that was proximate to
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there. but then they came back and admitted that their housing availability data had come primarily off of craig's list. later there was a more disciplined study that was conducted and it demonstrated that if the move were to be executed in 2013, there was not going to be housing that was sufficient and proximate to jbare in order to locate the airmen and there probably wouldn't be sufficient classroom seats for the military families either. so just a whole series of issues that have cropped up because they weren't thoroughly reviewed prior to a decision being made. the air force has now conceded that its plans are not executable in fiscal year 2013. that's a wise decision. but it kind of begs the question: so what about the future? the air force may deny it, but i think reasonable minds could conclude that the eilson plan is
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still moving full steam ahead. and let me offer the following in evidence of that. the senate appropriations committee has directed the air force to spend no fy 2013 money to implement the force structure change until the commission on the future structure of the air force reports, and think that's a good thing and i intend to argue eilson's case before that commission. but i would note that senate bill 3254 requires the commission, which is only going to be created once the defense authorization bill is signed into law -- it gives them until march 31 of 2013 to report. so essentially a three-month period. that's absolutely not adequate time for the rigorous analysis that is required. so i have submitted an amendment
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here this week, amendment 3135, which gives the commission an additional year to complete its work. now, notwithstanding this direction to stop, the air force has announced its plans to begin an environmental impact statement on the eilson downsizing. they've announced that this will commence january of 2013, using fy 2012 money. now, i do agree that an e.i.s. is a legally required condition precedent to the changes at eilson. and if the air force ultimately intends to downsize eilson and add people and planes to jbear, it will have to complete the nepa. more noser, it will offer the alaska community a chance to vent and weigh in. but one has to wonder, after
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reading the senate version of the defense appropriations bill, really what part of stop is the air force not -- not understanding? and i actually put this question to them in writing in september . i still have not received a satisfactory answer. several of the amendments that i have introduced would bring this concept of stop into the defense authorization bill. but there may be an alternative to afrg them, a solution that i think -- to offering them, a solution that i think could be a win for all. it strikes me that nis is not going to address two questions that i think are critical and that i think shush answered before the e. -- and that i think should be answered before the e.i.s. process begins. the first is whether or not it makes any sense at all to throw i'llson under the bus -- to throw eilson under the bus given
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its strategic potential. in addition, an e.i.s. will not answer the question as to whether or not it makes sense for the air force to abandon a community that supports our airmen like no other community in the country. this is a community that loves to fly. you've got people that have float planes and small aircraft and bush planes. everybody's a pilot there. they love to fly. this community is more than willing to accommodate the air force's desire to conduct summer exercises at the expense of precious general aviation airspace, provided that the air force remains a good corporate citizen in the community. my amendment 3156 is a
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good-faith effort to find that common ground with the air force. and what it does is require that the air force submit a report to the defense communities evaluating the up side potential of eilson air force before it acts to tear down that base or relocate its assets. and i take just a minute here to speak to some of that upside potential because i think it's considerable. it is a well-known fact in interior alaska that the air force publicly announced scoping on an e.i.s. for f-35 basing in eilson in 2008. in twa*eut they were talk -- in 2008 they were talking about brings the f-35's in. in 2009 they walked away from that announcement but suggested eilson would be a desirable base for the f-35. i might suggest this abrupt downsizing that is being considered now of eilson is
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inconsistent with that possible future use. you have the 168th air refueling wing of the alaska national guard that fuels the north pacific on a daily basis every single day of the year. and there's been some discussion about adding an active association and increasing the tanker presence proportionate to demand. but downsizing eilson could undermine the efficiency of that operation. i mentioned earlier the unencumbered airspace that eilson has. this unencumbered airspace might make a perfect place for remote piloted vehicle testing. this is a mission that senator begich has been actively promoting for the past several years. so let's come to a conclusion about whether or not this is a viable possibility. and as the pacific a.o.r. becomes more important, eilson
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might once again have the potential as a combat-coded fire base given its proximity to the world's hot spots. let's not also forget that eilson is the air base closest to the arctic, will certainly have new responsibilities in that rapidly changing part of the globe. and that's one of the reasons why the department of homeland security needs to be part of this ongoing conversation. before the air force moves to potentially throw away all of this and potential demolish perfectly good facilities that might have support future missions, i think it needs to take a good hard look at the up side of eilson, not just merely recite the same old lines that, quite honestly, failed in 2005. and that goes to the substance of the eilson decision. in just a moment here to speak
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of the frustrations that i have had about process as we have gone through this since february. congress has created a process to ensure that realignments that occur outside of brac grounds are vetted by the congressional defense committees. but like many laws, the pentagon is kind of looking around for loopholes. the air force has been pretty adept at identifying them, even if they might not actually be there. but there are some worthy amendments that i have submitted that would close the loopholes. these are contained in 10u.s.c. 993 and 10 u.s.c.2687. one of the more substantial loopholes contained in 10 u.s.c. 2687 would seem to allow the department of defense to characterize a reduction in civilian personnel as a reduction in force rather than
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reduction in realignment. that loophole if indeed it does exist i think needs to be closed. let me also note the difficulties we have had in obtaining from the air force information just asking for specific information has been a struggle these past several months. you ask the air force a question, and you tend to get a heavily vetted and not terribly specific answer. ask for documents explaining the deliberative process of the air force, and maybe you get one document months after you've asked for it, and again the document doesn't explain very much. so perhaps it's time for personnel offices to be able to use the freedom of information act, the foia process to get the documents they need in a timely fashion, just like journalists do. i have an amendment i've introduced, number 3143 which would provide for an expedited
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review of foia requests to the defense department pertaining to its activities in a member's home state with no fees charged for accessing that request. i think it would help level the playing field between committees that could subpoena documents and personnel offices to obtain the documents they need. i think it's a positive contribute to oversight. i hope others here in the chamber would feel likewise. i will not be offering that amendment up at this point in time in the hopes that the air force is clear on my message that i would like to find a way that we can be working more cooperatively with this information exchange, and that there can be greater accommodation with the congressional request. i know that general welsh as the new chief of staff intends to improve the air force's
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relationship with congress. i've had a good conversation, a very positive conversation with him just about that. i want to give him that opportunity to do so. and i look forward to working with him on these issues and some of the others that i've had an opportunity to raise with him. i'd like to conclude my remarks by again thanking the chairman of the committee, the ranking member, all of the staffs for their yoemen's efforts on the bill. i look forward to supporting final passage. i thank all of them for the efforts that they have made. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, we have been working very, very hard to come up with what we call a finite list of amendments that would be the only remaining first-degree amendments that would be in order to the bill. we are working obviously on many, many other amendments to get them cleared, but this would be the list of the maximum number of first-degree amendments that would be in order, and it's a long list so here goes. and then in 20 minutes from now, i will be asking unanimous
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consent, as we promised, that these amendments be the only remaining first-degree amendments to the bill. we promised everybody that they would have that opportunity because it's a long list, and we want to keep that promise. but during that 20 minutes, we can, i think, reassure folks if they have a problem that things are the way we said they would be. here's the list. bingaman 2984, brown of ohio 3216, kerry and brown of massachusetts 3034, kohl 2887, lieberman 3167, lieberman 3276, mikulski 3217, nelson of nebraska 3274, pryor 2946, rhode island 3014, reed of rhode island 3255, reid of nevada 3244, reid of nevada 3047, tester 3028 -- that's not the sportsmen's amendment, by the way. there was an objection to it and senator tester was willing to
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not have that on the list. udall of new mexico 3049, udall of new mexico 3150, akaka 3204, begich 3194, bennet 3226, boxer 3265, brown of ohio 311, carper 3241, casey 2997, conrad 3227, coons 3289, hagan 3056, harkin 3147, johnson of south dakota 3100, kohl 2887, lautenberg 3288, levin 3164, levin 3280, levin 3284, nelson of florida 3267, reed of rhode island 3165, reed of rhode island 3255, rockefeller 2996, warner 3145,
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warner 3188, webb 2943, webb 2957, whitehouse 3181, wyden 2959, alexander 3258, ayotte 3003, ayotte 3004, ayotte 3080, barrasso 3081, barrasso 3082, blunt 3728, boozman 3 it 21, brown of massachusetts 3160, brown of massachusetts 3270, burr 3219, coats 2923, collins 3042, collins 3196, collins 3259, collins 3282, corker 3172, demint 3134, graham 3203, grassley 2990, grassley 3079, hatch 3268, hutchison 3078, inhofe 2978, kyl 2927, kyl 3033,
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kyl 3239, lee 3185, mccain 3054, mccain 3091, mccain 3247, mccain 3262, mccain 3281, moran 3285, murkowski 3135, murkowski 3136, murkowski 3156, murkowski 3197, paul 3117, paul 3119, portman 3142, risch 3293 and 3094, rubio 3175, rubio 3176, sessions 3007, sessions 3008, sessions 3013, shelby 3070, snowe 3218, thune 3210, thune 3277, toomey 3060, toomey 3065 with a modification, toomey 3066, vitter 3087, wicker 3000
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and wicker 3002. now, again, this is the -- the u.c. will be offered at 3:45. if anyone has questions, please call our staff through the cloakroom. we have done a huge amount of work to get to this point. i emphasize again that many of our colleagues are understanding that they are working through additional amendments that are not on this list, and we would hope that they would continuously cooperate with us in that regard. mr. mccain: mr. chairman, could i just say that we have now, believe it or not, got a pretty manageable list. we have been working for three days on amendments, on compiling amendments, on disposing of amendments, various managers' packages which we will have an
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additional man engineers' package or -- managers' package or two today. i ask our colleagues to cooperate in the next 20 minutes and have their staffs and them if they are in their offices examine these lists, which is available, and make sure that it is agreeable to them so that we can lock this down and then move forward to having voice votes, managers' packages and, where required, roll call votes. we do not deny any senator the right starting on monday night night -- yeah, so we look forward to having agreement from everybody, and i believe that we can beginning on monday get this legislation done. i would also like to comment that i appreciate the patience of the majority leader who has a
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heavy -- a large calendar, and we appreciate his patience on this issue. and finally, i just want to say again i think we are showing and can show monday night that this body is capable of taking up a piece of legislation without a cloture vote, without filling up the tree, without all the other parliament maneuvers and objections and come forth with a piece of legislation that i think all of us can be proud of but more importantly that is of significant importance to the men and women who are serving in the military and our ability to protect this nation. and i thank the chairman again for his unstinting effort. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i also want to add our thanks not only to our colleagues and their staffs who are working with us on this to keep this manageable. this is manageable. i know it sounds overwhelming.
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it's daunting but it's manageable. but providing understanding is there for this process and what we are doing. i want to thank the staff that are working so hard on this. i want to thank the presiding officer who i know is changing his schedule this afternoon so that he can continue to preside. so at quarter to, which is when i started -- when i added up the minutes, at quarter to, i'm going to put this unanimous consent request. again, i emphasize that we are working on many amendments that are not on this list that we are still trying to clear. and i yield the floor, note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum
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mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent the further proceedings be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lef inner inner: levin: mr.e going to withhold the unanimous consent agreement at this time. there's been a number of questions raised about it and the time is being well spent actually because those questions need to be asked but there's enough of them so that we will pick that up on monday. but we're making good progress. we're going to have another 17 cleared amendments that will be coming up we hope in the next five or ten minutes. we've already disposed of 77 amendments. we've done it in a way which i think will make this body proud
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that we have -- are legislating, we -- people who want to filibuster, threaten to filibuster or debate something, we're going to say come on over and debate, which we have. so we've avoided these long periods of space. we've had no threat of a filibuster that has required a threshold of 60. we've had majority votes and not 60-threshold votes except for that one technical budget amendment issue. so we're making great progress, i believe, and we'll continue to make progress. the leader in a moment i believe is going to file a cloture petition which is going to help progress. but between now and the time we vote on cloture, both this afternoon and on monday, we're going to continue to work amendments, to try to clear amendments -- and i'm sure we will -- to voice vote amendments in the case that they've been cleared and require a voice vote. the leader will in a moment,
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again, state what his plans are. but for the time being, i want to just thank our leader for the support that he's given to the managers. it's essential. we've had that support. we're grateful for it. and to all of our colleagues and the staffs for working through a bill which is always complex and always has literally hundreds of amendments. and with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: the work done has been exemplary. the two managers, appreciate it very, very much. we've disposed of 75 amendments. we have another batch they're going to approve very quickly. we've had roll call votes. so there's been significant progress made. we're not going to be able to get a locked-in finite list of amendments. that's always hard to do. but i'm confident that we are going to be able to get this done. senators mccain and levin and their staffs will be available over the weekends weekend and the staffs will be available
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more than the two senators, who have spent many, many hours here on the floor. we need to make sure that people that have problems with the proposal made by the two managers, that they let them know because we really need to get -- lock this in as quickly as possible. i'm going to file cloture in just a minute. i encourage people to work with the managers. we're going to go out. senator levin's going to -- and mccain are going to clear a few amendments and then we're going to go out for the weekend. but it's been a very productive week. mr. president, i have a cloture motion at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on s. 3254, a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for military activities of the department of defense and so forth and for other purposes. signed by 18 senators as follo
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follows -- reid of nevada, levin, hagan, mikulski, udall of new mexico, merkley -- mr. reid: i ask reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, we're going to have a -- a monday -- i ask under rule 22, the mandatory quorum be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: senator levin will announce to the senate at a later time but just to give an idea what we expect to do on monday, there will be a judge's vote on a maryland judge on monday evening. that will be followed by a cloture vote on this matter that i just sent the petition to the desk. and we would hope that there will be a -- the ability at that time to, while the 30 hours is running, to clear a bunch of amendments. mr. president, as if in executive session, i ask unanimous consent there be no amendments in order to the treaty or the resolution of
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ratification, that following leader remarks on tuesday, december 4, the time until 12:00 noon be divided in the usual form, that at 12:00 noorntion th:00 noon, thesenate proceed te ratification of the convention on rights of persons with disabilities. that if the resolution is adopted, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. further, if the resolution annot adopted, the treaty be returned to the calendar, there be no motions or points of order in order other than a motion to reconsider. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i'd like to thank the majority leader again for his encouragement of this process. as i said before, i think it should be an example for addressing further pieces of legislation before this body. it's been very tough. there's been hundreds of amendments that have been filed, many of which have been disposed
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of. and we, i believe on monday night, we could complete this legislation with the cooperation of all members so that we -- this body could move on to other business. and i want to thank again my friend, the chairman, who continues to show unlimited patience, which is a quality that i do not possess. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, i call up now a list of 17 amendments which have been cleared by myself and senator mccain. here goes. the wyden amendment number 2959. the bingaman amendment number 2984. grassley amendment number 3079.
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the barrasso amendment number 3082. the vitter amendment number 3087, as modified by changes at the desk. the klobuchar amendment number 31026789 the klobuchar amendment number 3105. murkowski amendment number -- i lost track -- 3135. the warner amendment number 3145. collins amendment number 3196, as modified by changes at the desk. the barrasso amendment number 3198. the klobuchar amendment number 3234. the reid amendment number 3244. the mccain amendment number 3247, as modified by changes at the desk. the alexander amendment number 3258. let me repeat that. the alexander amendment number 3258. the levin amendment number 3280. the begich amendment number 32 3290.
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mr. mccain: those have been cleared by our side. mr. levin: now i ask consent that these amendments be considered en bloc, the amendments be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? hearing no objection, so ordered. mr. levin: again, i thank the presiding officer. mr. mccain: mr. president, i'd also like to thank the presiding officer for his patience and long period of time in the chair today. and we obviously have a couple of members of the media who have no other lives. mr. levin: i want to thank senator mccain. he very humorously, with his great good nature kind of joshes himself comparing his patience to mine. it's -- my starn is not the one that anybody -- my standard is not the one that anybody wants to follow around here. we're never get anything done. he's more than patient. and i'm very grateful that he is standing there and sitting right in that ranking position.
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and i hope he stays in that ranking position for, in some committee at least, for many, many, many years, in the ranking position. mr. mccain: i thank and would also thank our distinguished chairman. and obviously we've been here a long time but i also would appreciate our staffs who again show that work-release programs are quite successful here in the senate. i thank you very much. mr. levin: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate -- i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent that on monday, december 3, 2012, at 5:00 p.m., the senate proceed to executive
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session to consider the following nomination -- calendar number 760, that there be 30 minutes for debate equally divided in the usual form. that upon the use or yielding back of time, the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on the nomination, the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order, that any related statements be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and that the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent now, mr. president, that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the republican leader, the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar numbered 676, that there be 30 minutes for debate equally divided in the usual form, that upon the use or yielding back of the time, the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on the nomination, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in
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order on the nomination, that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and that the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar numbered 508, senate bill 2170. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar numbered 508, s. 2170, a bill to amend the provisions of title 5 united states code, which are commonly referred to as the hatch act, and so forth. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the committee-reported title amendment be agreed to with no intervening action or debate, and that any related statements be printed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: i now ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that the judiciary committee be discharged from consideration of
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s. res. 518 and the senate proceed to its consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 518, congratulating the southern baptist convention for electing reverend fred lutter jr. as the president of the southern baptist convention and so forth. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. levin: i ask now unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any related statements be placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. so ordered. mr. levin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 605 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 605, designating the week beginning november 26, 2012, as national tribal colleges and universities week.
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the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to this measure. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any related statements be printed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to consideration of s. res. 606 which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 606, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the founding of the sisters of charity of nazareth on december 1, 1812. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any related statements be printed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the
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senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 607 which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 607, relative to the death of the honorable george mcgovern, former united states senator and congressman from the state of south dakota. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble agreed to, the motion to reconsider laid on the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to this matter be placed in the record as though read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: finally, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2:00 on monday, december 3, 2012. that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning business be deemed expired and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, that following any leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of the d.o.d. authorization bill, s. 3254, and that at 5:00,
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the senate proceed to executive session under the previous order. further, that following disposition of the order with respect to the grimm nomination, the senate immediately resume consideration of s. 3254 and then proceed to the vote on the motion to invoke cloture, and that the second-degree filing deadline for amendments to s. 3254 be 4:00 p.m. on monday. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: there will be two roll calls on monday at 5:30. i emphasize the two roll calls that i am referring to would be at 5:30. the first will be confirmation of the grimm nomination and the second will be cloture on the d.o.d. authorization bill.
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mr. president, there could be additional roll calls to the two that i referred to on monday. and i now would have to put in a -- note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i would ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the provisions of s. res. 607 as a further mark of respect to the memory of former george mcgovern of south dakota. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on monday, december 3, and does so as a further mark of respect to the memory of former
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respect to the memory of former the defense and foreign policy writer for congressional quarterly. the senate has been in the holding pattern on the annual defense authorization bill that they finally found a way to start consideration of amendments. what broke the jam?
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>> rand paul had a desire to bring an amendment that would have applied the sixth amendment rights to the citizens who been taken in the war on chair on the u.s. homeland, and as a result, he was concerned he wouldn't get time. senator mccain was the ranking member on the senate armed services committee and managed the bill assured him he wouldn't try to block rand paul's amendment. ultimately, senator dianne feinstein brought an amendment that senator paul favors that would restrict or place some restrictions on the types of reasons that you could arrest an american citizen to not hold them indefinitely and so on, so forth. that amendment was approved. >> there were several other amendments to the bill. can you point those out and tell the outcome? >> typically the iran sanctions amendment that was approved specifically what limit the types related to shipping and other things that iran does. it's a pretty tough amendment
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but it's not as tough perhaps as the house would prefer to do, but that in fact was passed by large majority. >> senator carl levin, and as human lynch to become mentioned senator mccain hoped to finish it in three days. well that didn't happen so how much more work is there to do on this? >> it really remains to be seen. there is a lot that needs to be sorted out behind the scenes. they would like to finish up by monday and that is pretty much where we are out right now. >> the house approved its defense authorization bill. how does the senate bill differ from the house bill? >> i was just speaking to people on the house side, senior congressional aides over there, and they do not see any major difficulties in getting this done. last year they were able to get a conference done in less than nine days and i was assured by republicans over their dead they believe they can do the same this type. it doesn't seem to be contentious. both committees, both house and
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senate were trying to keep this as a noncontroversial thing as you know we are coming to the end of the sessions of the need that quickly. >> do you think they will be able to do it before the end of the year? >> absolutely. >> frank oliveri writes for congressional quarterly and we thank you for your time. >> the end of world war ii we had 12 million men under arms. we had 2,000 flag officers and generals. today we have a thousand flag officers and generals, and 1.2 million under arms. the ratio is totally out line. we almost now have an admiral for every ship in the navy. it's not a captain, and admiral. so what we do is go through and look at areas where we could not necessarily save all of the money but we could transfer responsibilities that are not the defense of the country out of the pentagon and save a
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significant amount of money. earlier this week former congressional leaders discussed what washington can learn from
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the 1990 deficit agreement that helped bring the federal budget into surplus. speakers include pete domenici, a former house appropriations committee chair david obey and former house speaker tom foley. congress and the white house in 1990 were facing automatic budget short cuts and large projected deficits. president george h. w. bush in the breaking his taxes pledge in order to get a deal with house and senate democrats. as amihai and paul pos mur the director of the administration program at george mason university and i want to welcome you to the session which we are calling looking back to move forward the 1990 budget summit revisited co-sponsored by george mason university and the bipartisan policy center. it's our pleasure to put this on and recognize with all the frenzy about the fiscal cliff that we have a history and some of that history is successful in resolving the deep seated choices within the budgeting.
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that is what we are going to look back and talk about today and see whether we can learn any lessons from that experience. we will go over the detailed program and a few minutes but i want first to introduce our keynote speaker tom davis many of you know and most of you know tom. thomas somebody i call a academic. he's covered many bases and was the county executive for fairfax county. he was the representative to washington from fairfax to the congress and became the chairman of the house government operations committee with many important hearings and covered many issues and he remains very active as a speaker and policy observer and he's also on our faculty where he teaches the course on southern politics very popular lecture and faculty member so i'm pleased to have, as a colleague. tom is going to kick it off and then come back and talk about the detailed program and get
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started. >> paul, thank you very hatch. he left of the most important part of the resume and that is i left congress undefeated and unindicted. i just want to welcome you on behalf of george mason university the bipartisan policy center and loyt. the history doesn't repeat itself but it sometimes crimes. this summarizes what we are doing in the session this morning. i don't need to tell the audience about the challenges facing the nation and our leaders today in the fiscal cliff approaching even now working to explore an agreement that would avoid an economic free for all while progress in reducing our long-term debt. the session will go back in time to better understand our current prospects. we will be looking back at the last time the parties joined together in a bipartisan budget summit. the 1990 andrews air force base summit together brought all of the keithley years, members and staff and what resulted in a
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successful five-year budget agreement. president george h. w. bush and congressional democrats ended up agreeing on a package with significant spending to the revenue changes seating over $500 billion over five years. moreover the locked in the discipline from the future by achieving major budget process reforms including an adoption of the discretionary spending caps and paygo discipline on the mandatory revenue side and the budget. just as now there were doubts whether it could be done skepticism always flourishes and the stakes are higher and political leaders are sparingly with choices. the parties persevered to complete the project. today we will be hearing from the two panels. first will consist of the principles of the first agreement and both parties in the congress and from the bush administration. second will reflect on lessons we might take away from that agreement for today's challenges we suffer no illusions here.
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the past isn't necessarily prologue. we have many differences in the political environment and when i first came to congress they are polarized than they've been in many decades and there are some macrotrends that make this emphasized that it would be divided even deeper. first of all, the difference is the parties today are what we say in political ideologically sort. so the national journal the last to congress liberal republican is more conservative than those democrats but they've been in partisan terms. by the way olympia snowe, the gap it's even wider. in the house we have the most conservative democrats in the house according to the national bureau of voting figures come and some of the more liberal
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republicans are leaving the house and then it divided its even keepers of the parties are ideological but complementing that obviously reinforcing that division are three of the major factors that didn't exist back in the 1980's. first of all the way the congressional districts are drawn with the voting rights act with the computer models today most of the districts in the house are pre-drawn to the party or the other. what does that mean to a member? most of us in the house worry about the primary elections. we don't worry that the general election. three-quarters of members of the house don't worry about november but they worry about a primary challenge. my experience has been the primary voters don't compromise. they tend to punish compromise and there is a slew of the former members of the aspirations that can testify to that. so, when you take a look at the redistricting even two years ago in 2010 when you have the highest midterm turnout since
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1938, less than a quarter of the seats were in general contention. contention as you run into the labor day recess. but regan forcing those are two other macrotrends. one is the fact that the media models today are far different than they were 20 years ago or even ten years ago. you didn't have a fox or msnbc that catered to a certain audience and psychology and political science because it cognitive discipline. people tune in to what they want to hear and get their views reinforced. talk radio was just beginning to flourish and you didn't have the internet. the internet now has a content ratio of information coming over the internet very, very high. and get 50% of people get their information of the internet. and the sites dillinger here to get this passed along. these are not what i would call efforts to bring us together. these tend to be polarizing mechanisms that make it more
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difficult to achieve a compromise. the speaker were to go off and cut a deal by the time he's back on capitol hill with sean hannity they didn't make it. the members phones lit up like a christmas tree, the switchboards of angry people to talk about what they've heard. it makes it very difficult for the members that there is another factor that has come in that isn't talked about as much but it's equally important at least in the mind of policy makers and that is the fact that campaign financing has changed remarkably over the last 20 years. we passed a campaign finance reform which i didn't vote for i'm happy to say that members on the panel on both sides of that the difficulty is that it strives to take money out of politics and it eliminated money for the parties how they could raise money. it's immediately to 527 now it is out in the superpac and
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citizens united you have more in the political candidates combined indies. what does that mean in the mind of the policymaker sitting down to make a deal? member after member from both sides of the all come to me and say you know what i'm scared to death when the superpac comes and drops a million dollars on the in the primary. the party can't cover me so the leaders lose their leverage in terms of how they can help their members of these other groups on the of sight and in the right and left for the most part are empowered. mix the solution today even more complicated. they've lost confidence and ability of the politics to solve the economic budget problems we face it's healthy to remember that we in fact face these trees is before and we have done it successfully. we served the people that were good able people that have some of these macrotrends that are working to make it more difficult for them to arrive at
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the decision. the good news for americans are these problems are eminently stoppable. they are politically difficult. they are politically hard. but they are solvable, and in the coming months something could be resolved in a number of these areas as we move off the fiscal cliff. i hope you enjoy this today. we have a great panel here to lead us off. witnesses and participants in the first degree back in 1990. i hope that you enjoy. i am going to turn this back to paul who's the director at george mason university to guide you through. thank you. >> thank you very much, tom. a few words before we get started with our first panel. this meeting today is the first project of a commitment we've made a george mason to do an oral history or as they say today multimedia history of the federal budget process which is
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as important as these decisions are, really it has never been done and never captured and is easy today there is a rich history just in the memories of the people that we have assembled here let alone and those throughout washington and keeping the fiscal policy of the country going in some reasonable way we want to capture the staff level kinds of experiences as well as the big peak experiences and budgeting. this is the first of a number of sessions like this that we hope to conduct. these are not easy politics and it's probably just as difficult in 1990 even more difficult maybe today to solve the fiscal
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cliff we could do it in the shower there's only 536 people that have an election certificate and that is not easy. it would be very useful to review this significant budget compromise that was achieved in 1990. wasn't that there wasn't one in 1997. there was this was the most significant one that cut the mold for the future budget agreement not only in terms of the items on the table, but the budget process elements that we were agreed to to lock in coming and we really want to understand how is compromise made. where, who were the key players and what prompted them to come to the table in the first place? how do you make hard freezes when the media coverage and increasingly polarization. and how to do it in a way that guarantees some political
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success. i mean, that's the challenge we want to try to understand today. and so, we are fortunate to have a team of both bipartisan policy centers lloyd is here and our partner here at the bipartisan policy center. he will moderate the first session and the first session we brought together as you will see here we are still waiting for the former speaker foley. a number of leaders who were there at the summit at the andrews air force base as well as the various other forms are not washington to craft this deal. it wasn't an easy deal. and as we will hear, it was literally perilous. it lost a couple key votes in the house. but ultimately it was agreed to. and how the issues were resolved in the first panel. the second panel which i will moderate will be kind of looking
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more at lessons learned for today for the media observers and those in washington and elsewhere to kind of ponder those questions so we should be done by noon. bill i don't know if we want to go ahead -- >> i think it's fine to go ahead. he is supposed to be here shortly. good morning everyone. it is a real pleasure for me to moderate this panel of very distinguished americans and public servants. thank you, congressman davis for your presentation at george mason university and the bipartisan policy center for arranging and organizing this timely even to. i had the honor and pleasure of
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serving as a senate staffer for nearly 27 years and almost all of that time is spent here in this committee room working for chairman domenici. i sat back then. i never set up here. i can tell you that for sure. during that time, we did many budgets are reconciliation bills were debated and discussed and even some were actually adopted. and one of those pieces of legislation, 22 years ago, was the omnibus budget reconciliation act of 1990 that implemented the budget agreement negotiated over many months. some of the key participants in that debate unfortunately the two key individuals. robert byrd the omb director
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that are no longer with us but we cannot in any way understate the critical role of both played in this debate whether one agreed or disagreed with them. and i and it was winston churchill who observed the further back one looks. we are going to look back on the 1990 budget deliberations with an eye towards looking forward. are there any lessons to be learned from that perot that might apply to the current budget debate on the fiscal cliff that awaits us. let me set the stage for the audience and for some to refresh our memories as one grows older the memory gets a little more fuzzy. of the 101st congress was controlled by the democratic party in the house the were tendered 50 democrats and 183 republicans. a margin of 67 votes.

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